Visual Music

John Whitney, Bill Ham & Kara-Lis Coverdale, Thomas Wilfred

Join us for a psychedelic light painting by Bill Ham, the work “MN:P” by computer graphics pioneer John Whitney and a meditative colour symphony of light artist Thomas Wilfred in the “Visual Music” programme track, which features historical avant-garde films by visual artists adapted for the dome space.

Bill Ham: Light Painting

Light Painting

© Bill Ham Lights

  • 30 min

Past Dates

John Whitney: MN:P

Computer graphics pioneer John Whitney (born in Altadena, California; 1917-1995) is considered one of the first who realized the dream of creating an art that looks like music sounds. Among his achievements is the invention of a handmade mechanical apparatus that enabled him to choreograph abstract forms in a visual medium. In so doing, Whitney was able to render visible in his films the laws and fundamentals of music and discover complementary interactions between sound and image. “MN:P” is a work from Whitney’s late creative period, inspired by his first experiences with Southwest American indigenous peoples.

Bill Ham & Kara-Lis Coverdale & Emi Ito: Light Painting #2

To Bill Ham, spontaneous projection painting and “light shows” represent a continuation of abstract expressionism. In the very early 1960s, he discovered that working directly with overhead projectors provided a continuum of images; where composition, execution and presentation occur simultaneously. In all previous live performances this present tense art was shared by the viewer and the artist in real time. For these new compositions, his studio sessions were digitally recorded, newly arranged and adapted for projection in the Zeiss-Großplanetarium dome.

Thomas Wilfred: Opus 79 „Multidimensional“

With his lumia instruments, which are based on an imagining construction of electrical, mechanical and reflective elements, the American light art pioneer Thomas Wilfred (1889–1968) created a new art form at the crossroads between technology and modern art. In collaboration with the Epstein Collection and Stiftung Planetarium Berlin, his light paintings that were originally presented as screen and ceiling projections have been adapted for the fulldome, allowing them to be experienced in a digital form. As intended by Wilfred, his meditative colour symphonies are shown without sound.

John Whitney: MN:P (1995, 7 min)
Score: John Whitney
Unpublished work copyright 1995, John Whitney
Unpublished digital transfer and restoration copyright 2021, Whitney Editions, LLC

Bill Ham & Kara-Lis Coverdale & Emi Ito: Light Painting #2 (2021, 10 min)
Bill Ham and Emi Ito (Assisting Artist)
Light Painting #2
Score by Kara-Lis Coverdale
Light Music #2
A coproduction of Berliner Festspiele / The New Infinity and Zeiss-Großplanetarium Berlin

Thomas Wilfred: Opus 79 „Multidimensional“ (1932, 10 min)
The Carol and Eugene Epstein Collection/Video courtesy of Clavilux.org